The story of Virte Solar started in the late winter of 2015. In the science news, we came across a project by VTT Oulu on investigating the application possibilities of solar film cells. VTT is a technical research centre of Finland. We started to dream of roofing sheets, to which thin film cells could already be bonded at the factory. The solution seemed practical, as there was no need for roof fasteners or a separate installation of panels, among other things. Later in the same spring, we decided that Virte-Metalli would be the first roof manufacturer in the world to deliver prefabricated “solar roofing sheets”. Finally, this goal was not realized, as we later found a company in the United States that introduced these products a few months ahead of us.
The project by VTT Oulu was not suitable for us, but we found three foreign manufacturers who had recently started the production of light and flexible solar panels, based on the CIGS thin film technology, that suited our purposes. We managed to obtain test batches of panels from Miasolé, Global Solar and Solopower. Miasolé proved to be clearly the best of the three.
Four months after the start of the project, we had a functional test power station, a couple of pilot deals concluded and a huge faith in our making and possibilities. During the process, Doctor of Electrical Engineering Teemu Rovio, Tekes – the Finnish Funding Agency for Innovation had joined the project. We toured trade fairs and browsed publications in this industry and the Internet. We were convinced that we had a grand product in our hands, to which we, as a roofing sheet manufacturer, could offer a magnificent application: solar panels integrated in the roofing sheets at the factory. We decided to establish a new company, Virte Solar Ltd. In the fall, we signed a representation agreement with Miasolé, covering the Nordic Countries and the Baltic countries.
Virte Solar is part of the Virte-Metalli roof group, which has a history of over 50 years. Virte’s head office is located in Turku, and we have a sales office in Vantaa. We are the largest roofing sheet manufacturer on the south-western coast of Finland. Our product portfolio also includes rain water systems, and we operate as a steel and roof accessory wholesaler for companies in the building industry. Depending on the season, Virte employs 25-30 people.
Personally, I am sure that the new CIGS thin film solar panels are a winning technology, which in a few years shall greatly replace the heavy and, in many ways, cumbersome silicon panels with heavy attachment systems and high wind loads. The low weight, safety, practicality and visual outfit of solar energy systems are now taken to a completely new level. I hope that the new technology finally opens doors for the broad use of solar energy in all Nordic Countries. The world simply needs well-functioning solar solutions.
Virte Solar Oy